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Saga - Heads Or Tales CD (album) cover

HEADS OR TALES

Saga

 

Crossover Prog

3.49 | 107 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Atavachron
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a group that few will admit liking but that have a quiet, secret fanbase lurking in the shadows, hidden from the scorn of the traditional rock/prog company which they keep. With a spotless sound, straightforward approach and synth foundation, Saga dared a unique mix of clean electronix and hard-rock riffing in a somewhat naive attempt to capture both markets. Instead they turned off synth- and hardrockers, and to their credit, didn't slow down at all. Sometimes you do what you gotta do, and if even only one person is listening, it's worth it. These days of course, many more than that enjoy the band (as evidenced by all the gold and platinum records) though you'd be hard-pressed to find them.

After the great debut in 1978, Images at Twilight was disappointing and it wasn't till '81s Worlds Apart these lifers began to hit a real stride. This, their fifth, kept the momentum going with a bright and lively offering that showcased Ian Crichton's delicious guitar phrasing in particular, as well as the clever arrangements of Jim Crichton and Michael Sadler. Hit 'The Flyer' is a fresh-faced daydream of aviation in a Tom Sawyer kind of vein, 'Catwalk' yields little more than Ian Crichton's searing guitar, and odd 'The Sound of Strangers' continues Michael Sadler's preoccupation with paranoia and features one of the best guitar flourishes of all time. The Sadler/Crichton knack for songwriting is shown-off for 'The Writing'; 80s Sting pop/pap of 'Intermission' slowly drags through; all-too-bouncy 'Social Orphan'; catchy and well-crafted 'The Vendetta' with more killer chops from Ian; incomprehensible Men Without Hats-like 'Scratching the Surface'; and rather excellent pop beat 'Pitchman' protects the rear.

Though not their best, Heads or Tales is representative of both the best of what Saga was doing at the time and what would give them a lukewarm rep in rock circles, and it is an entirely decent record.

Atavachron | 3/5 |

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